Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 720 Rutland Avenue, Ross 618, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; Cellular & Molecular Medicine Graduate Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 720 Rutland Avenue, Ross 618, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
Consumption of a high-fat diet has long been known to increase risk for obesity, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. Further evidence strongly suggests that these same metabolic disorders are associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment later in life. Now faced with an expanding global burden of obesity and increasing prevalence of dementia due to an aging population, understanding the effects of high-fat diet consumption on cognition is of increasingly critical importance. Further, the developmental origins of many adult onset neuropsychiatric disorders have become increasingly clear, indicating a need to investigate effects of various risk factors, including diet, across the lifespan. Here, we use a rat model to assess the effects of maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation on cognition and hippocampal gene expression of offspring. Behaviorally, adult male offspring of high-fat fed dams had impaired object recognition memory and impaired spatial memory compared to offspring of chow-fed dams. In hippocampus, we found decreased expression of Insr, Lepr, and Slc2a1 (GLUT1) among offspring of high-fat fed dams at postnatal day 21. The decreased expression of Insr and Lepr persisted at postnatal day 150. Together, these data provide additional evidence to suggest that maternal exposure to high-fat diet during pregnancy and lactation can have lasting effects on the brain, behavior, and cognition on adult offspring.